BKSDA reports five deaths in Sumatran tiger-human conflicts in 2019

Palembang, S Sumatra (ANTARA) – The South Sumatra Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) confirmed that five people died while 10 others incurred injuries in 15 tiger attacks in South Sumatra Province during 2019.

A tiger attack again took place in a forest area of Semende Darat Sub-district in Muara Enim District on Jan 9, 2020, the agency’s head, Genman Hasibuan, stated here on Tuesday.

The victim was identified as a local farmer working around the forest area. He sustained grave injuries owing to the tiger attack, he noted.

ANTARA noted that in Indonesia, Sumatran tigers (Pantera Tigris Sumatrae) are the only surviving tiger species, as the country has already lost two sub-species of tigers to extinction: the Bali tiger that became extinct in 1937 and the Javan tiger in the 1970s.

Sumatran tigers, the smallest of all tigers, are currently a critically endangered species only found on Sumatra Island, Indonesia’s second-largest island.

The tigers are on the brink of extinction owing to deforestation, poaching, and conflicts between wild animals and local people, as their habitats are shrinking.

The exact figure of Sumatran tigers left in the wild is uncertain, but latest estimates range, from under 300 to possibly 500 in 27 locations, including in the Kerinci Seblat National Park, Tesso Nilo Park, and Gunung Leuser National Park.

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), their numbers have dwindled, from some one thousand in the 1970s. The biggest threat to conservation is conflict with humans, according to the 2009 report by the forestry ministry. On an average, five to 10 Sumatran tigers have been killed annually since 1998, the report stated.

In saving the Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris ssp. sumatrae), South Sumatra’s Natural Resources Conservation Office (BKSDA) has installed six more camera and box traps to find traces of these protected and endangered animals.

The cameras and box traps were also installed as part of precautionary measures against human-tiger conflicts.

“We have yet to map out locations of the tigers and conflict zones, but we marked some areas that might be part of their habitats,” Hasibuan revealed in his statement in December 2019.

From November to December 2019, the conservation office investigated six reports of tiger attacks. Hasibuan revealed that the first attack took place on November 16, 2019, in which a 19-year-old tourist got injured.

Following the incident, a Sumatran tiger also attacked a 58-year-old farmer in Lahat District resulting in fatal injuries.

In the third report of human-tiger conflict on December 2, another farmer was injured, and at the location of the incident in Rimba Candi Village, Pagaralam City, South Sumatra Province, he had spotted a mother tiger and her cub.

Source: ANTARA News